UPDATE 1-Enbridge optimistic Line 4 pipeline to restart Thursday

Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:45pm EST
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(New throughout, adds trader comments, market reaction, details on differentials)

CALGARY, Alberta Dec 18 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc said its 796,000 barrel per day Line 4 pipeline, the largest carrying Canadian crude to the United States, could restart as early as Thursday afternoon after a 1,350-barrel spill a day earlier.

A quick restart will be welcome news for Canadian oil producers grappling with a steep slump in the price of U.S. crude.

A lengthy pipeline outage would leave crude backed up in Alberta, deepening the discount on Canadian grades and pushing the outright price of Canadian oil even lower.

Late on Wednesday, Enbridge said a leak from a valve spilled crude at its Regina, Saskatchewan, terminal site, prompting the company to shut down the heavy crude pipeline.

On Thursday morning Graham White, a spokesman for Canada's largest pipeline operator, said regulatory personnel were on site at the terminal and Enbridge could begin its restart plan for the line if a valve is repaired as expected this morning.

"Assuming all activities go as planned, we are optimistic service can be restored sometime later this afternoon," White said.

Line 4 runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin and is Canada's biggest crude oil export pipeline.

Traders in Canada's oil capital Calgary were mostly unruffled by the shutdown. They said fixing the valve should be fairly simple.   Continued...